Quick plays: BLACK RAINBOWS, NEVER TRUST, TIM GRIMM, JADED HEART

BLACK RAINBOWS – Holy Moon (EP)
Heavy Psych Sounds

Something in the Italian water as they not only produce a series of fine melodic rock/AOR bands but now have some rather good stoner/psych rock bands including this band Black Rainbows.

Kicking things off nicely with the Hawkwind approved space rock instrumental title track they enter full stoner/psych rock mode on ‘Monster Of The Highway’.

The chugging guitars meld well with the throbbing rhythm section. ‘The Hunter’ is another monster meld of guitar riffs and rhythm and they do some bizarre acoustic music on ‘If I Was A Bird’, where the vocals have a space effect on them and the guitar recalls Led Zep circa their ‘III’ album. The cover of MC5’s ‘Black To Comm’ shakes away the cobwebs to round off the EP.

Worth seeking out as Black Rainbows have a lot to offer musically for fans of Hawkwind and Monster Magnet.  ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

Never Trust - Morning Light

NEVER TRUST – Morning Light

A bit like football teams, rock bands across the globe appear to have lost any sense of national identity.  And so it is that Milan based, Italian post punk rockers Never Trust could, literally, come from just about anywhere.

They may claim Zeppelin / Van Halen inspiration, but despite their debut release being produced, arranged, mixed and mastered in the US of A, they sound – to these seasoned ears, at least – like pretty much every other post punk groove/thrash/hard-core band.  That is, the pedal is pressed firmly to the metal, although one track is, almost apologetically, acoustic.

And there’s no denying they’re pretty proficient.  In Elisa Galli they’ve a front woman who could give most female vocalists a run for their money (although the one third shaved head ‘look’ is unlikely to make her a centrefold anywhere other than Kerrang or Metal Hammer).  And the band – Massimo Buggio (guitars), Gianni Borgonovo (drums) and Flavio Oggionni (bass) are no slouches either.  An incendiary rhythm section, and powerhouse six string performance.

And that’s where I struggle with their debut, it’s left field of the mainstream, but neither Is it hard-core.  Subtlety doesn’t feature greatly, although there’s hints of a youthful Benatar, and there’s enough melody to give the likes of Halestorm (ballads aside) a run for their money.

So maybe not for the ‘cultured’ rock aficionado, and perhaps one most likely to be appreciated by those who want to ‘give it loads’ in the mosh pit.  Add a lead guitarist, and chill a little and Never Trust could be contenders.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

TIM GRIMM – Turning Point

At first, I wasn’t too sure about actor (the TV series Reasonable Doubts, and films including Clear And Present Danger with Harrison Ford) Tim Grimm’s walk down that fine line between folk and country on his latest long player.

With vocals and song writing style an acknowledged amalgam of influences Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, Tom Paxton and (Nebraska era) Springsteen, it wasn’t until the final track – the wonderfully amusing and infectious Blame It On The Dog that my ears pricked up.

But with that ‘in’ further listens reveal (at least in part) just why his last five recordings have reached the top of the folk or Americana roots charts.  It’s a songwriter’s album, and that’s the sort that needs to be played and absorbed over repeated listens.

And while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, further listening reveals an irrefutable core of songs – the opener The Lake, the haunting Family History, the iconic King Of The Folksingers, that refuse to be ignored.  And, for a guaranteed smile (and that’s a rare ability in a song) Blame It On The Dog.  For that alone, Turning Point is worth a listen.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

THE HIGH BAR GANG – Lost And Undone

Artists like Alison Krauss brought bluegrass to the mainstream in the mid to late ‘90s and it’s now a staple part of the new Nashville sound.  But with Lost And Undone, The High Bar Gang – a project led by guitarist and mandolin player Colin Nairne – have sought to take the genre back to its gospel roots with a set of 14 ‘standards’ penned by the likes of pioneers Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers selected by Ry Cooder.

For most, it’s what might be considered ‘extreme’ bluegrass – recorded in glorious mono in Barney Bentall’s living room and faithfully recreating a simpler time.  It focuses on the songs (Praise The Lord), the vocals, and some quite marvellous playing.  But the rather wonderful (and remarkably contemporary) All My Tears aside, it’s likely to be far too neat for anyone other than purists.  **1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

JADED HEART – Live In Cologne

(CD/DVD) Fastball Music www.fastball-music.com

Jaded Heart have been around for a little while now and this live CD was to coincide with their recent European dates with MasterPlan. For the fan this is a decent package as not only do you get a seven song live set on CD, there is a DVD that features a couple of promo videos, the live set and interviews with the band. Not something I watch again and again personally but I am sure fans will enjoy this DVD.

Musically Jaded Heart are typical Euro metal and although they belt through the metal meets hard rock of ‘Hero’, they lack any real stand out tunes for me.

Nice stop gap for the fans but unlikely to win them over many new fans.

***

Review by Jason Ritchie





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Power Plays w/c 24 January (Mon-Fri)
UNTIL 9 Headstone (indie)
MARSHALL POTTS The Storm (indie)
WAKING THE ANGELS Stand Back From The Redline (CD Baby)
BLACKTOP MOJO Strike Me (indie)
THE KARMA EFFECT Steal Your Heart (indie)
REVIVAL BLACK Believe (indie)
KUBRICK Devastate (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 24 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 GIANT Shifting Time (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE FERRYMEN One More River To Cross (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 PEGGY JAMES The Parade (indie)



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